Increasing Blog Traffic the Old Fashioned Way: It Still Works

WordPress.Net

WordPress.Net (Photo credit: Daniele Muscetta)

Now we venture into the arena of commenting.

As we’ve been looking over some of the recommendations of successful bloggers, identified so far are the necessity of a good tagline and slug. We’ve also considered the need to clean up the page where visitors will stop for a good read. Should you have missed these, you can find links to them at the footer of this article.

But now, we offer one of those suggestions that comes from front and center of every successful blogger’s advice column, and makes many novices cringe… including me.

If you want more traffic to your blog-site,  the most proven method of doing so is to become traffic on other blog-sites  You’ll need to be more than just casual traffic though. What the masters recommend on this is that you’ll need to be a consistent commenter where you visit (arggh!).

If that’s not intimidating enough, even consistency won’t guarantee increased readership back at your own site, but intelligent interaction with the author will.

Let me show you in a couple of steps how this works. First, I use the example of a recent commenter on my post, Confusing Your Blog Traffic by Way of Clutter.

There, Marie comments, “If there’s too much on the site, people will choose not to look at all.  So true.  I have created a separate page on my site for the blogs and blog hops I follow.  It really cleans up the site and makes my posts readable.”

Did you catch what Marie accomplished in very few words? Not only did she make my day by visiting and commenting, but she offered an answer for those who want to clean up their site but not lose ready-hop access to other blogger’s sites.

The next step creates traffic for Marie’s site. The reason? It’s pretty simple really.

Curiosity. If I want to find out how Marie’s answer looks in real life, I have to go to her site to see it. Curiosity may be accused of having once killed the cat, but it also drives readers to your blog. Not only the author, but others as they see you have beneficial words for their blogs (lives) also. Oh yeah… don’t forget, you need to make it possible to link back to your site through your comments.

We can’t leave this topic without giving an honorable mention to the famous “like” button at the bottom of every post; well, except for those who choose to not display it. Clicking that little “like” button lets the author know you appreciated their work, and let’s everyone know you were there.

A word of caution here though for those who have made an habitual showing of being a lazy liker (I reference only myself here… your likes are very much appreciated), never putting forth the effort to make intellectual comments. It’s much like the old church adage, “What you win them with, you win them to.”

In other words, the most successful bloggers all agree, “unless your only desire is to pack the bottom of your page with “likes,” then you’ll want to be diligent to be a communicator on other blogs. This is really outside my comfort zone, and I’m sure for others too, but in all straightforwardness, there are very few bloggers who will experience the success of building a big reader base without some laborious networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc., have a post coming).

There’s a neat concept of wisdom that possibly makes this a little less painful though. Remember, “bloggers don’t compete with bloggers for traffic.” I hope you caught that, for in that sentence is the path to understanding that bloggers build relationships with bloggers and enhance their traffic while doing so.

This particular post isn’t about the content we present (a work in progress), but it is only fair to mention here that when a reader is attracted to your site, there must be something there to bring them back. In the future we’ll discuss how to churn out posts that do this.

For now, the question someone is probably asking is ‘how often’ and ‘how many comments?’ This varies and really is dependent on what you’re trying to attain. I like the suggestion to set aside 30 minutes a day for commenting. Remember though, these comments need to be thought-provoking, not only casual pleasantries.

On a personal note here, I can see where what has been said could sound like we’re suggesting cold and mechanically generated comments for the sole purpose of selfishly drawing a crowd to our own site. Not at all. The way to really come up with good comments is to invest yourself into what the author is passionate about. If you really have no interest in what has been written there, you will probably do yourself and the visited site a big favor by not commenting at all and moving on to another blog.

Shaking  Hands

Shaking Hands (Photo credit: zeevveez)

I want to close with something very important. Some investment of time will have to go in to deciding where you comment. This isn’t meant to sound mean, but if all of your comments are directed to posts with little to no traffic, then there’s no one to attract to your site. However, please don’t take this to mean we quit spending time with our blogging friends who are striving to grow also. We just need to consider some balance, remembering that you’ll be assisting these same friends as they use your growing traffic to attract readers also.

So, we may as well prepare ourselves; increasing readership will probably not be an overnight success. For most of us, it will be a lengthy time-consuming process with some moments of encouragement and discouragement alike.

In the future, after some experimenting with commenting on the more visited sites, I plan to report on how this is working for us. We would really appreciate any input you may have regarding commenting.

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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26 Responses to Increasing Blog Traffic the Old Fashioned Way: It Still Works

  1. Val Mills says:

    What a useful find on my firt visit to your blog. I’ve jut started here and enjoy reading a few other blogs and leaving comments while I drink my morning coffee. Your comment re choosing which sites to comment on is something I’ll definitely take from here. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: The Fine Art of Blog Commenting Creating A Commenting Policy | seventhvoice

  3. billhogan77 says:

    Another great tip MT! And as for your concern about encouraging a “selfish attitude toward gaining readers,” I wouldn’t worry.
    What I see is drawing attention to a selfless message that the world needs to hear. Keep up the great work… and be blessed!

  4. Anna Popescu says:

    MT, thank you for being so honest and open with us. I have to say, though, you actually made me LOL at some things you said, and I definitely just did the “like” thing for you. 😉 You’re recent posts on how to optimize your blog are great and I appreciate all the work you’re doing for us.

    Blessings!
    ~Anna

    • mtsweat says:

      Thank you Anna! Your words are refreshing, as in all honestness, I’m writing sort of blind here. I’m reading from several sources and trying to weed some things into posts that I’m trying and hopefully will help others also. What I mean to say is I have no tangible evidence these things work, just trusting those who have gone there before me. We shall see. Many blessings to you today!

  5. Lyn Leahz says:

    Great advice, friend. 🙂

  6. NEO says:

    Yep, the Gravatars work too, at least sometimes. And sometimes you really get lucky. One day I followed a Gravatar fro Rebecca Hamilton’s old WP blog, to yours, and to Jessica’s as well, Following that Gravatar got me my best commenter, my coauthor, and my dearest friend. But normally, I agree, you must comment, and do it intelligently, usually a few times as well. I try to check out everybody that comments but can’t always find the time but if you do say, 3 times in a week will guarantee that I’ll check it out.

    Really good post here, as well.

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Neo. It’s encouraging to hear that these methods, at least somewhat really do produce something. Blessings

      • NEO says:

        They do, it’s not a panacea, and they’re not overnight but they do work, and they tend to get good readers and often commenters as well,

        Blessing and happy Sunday to you 🙂

  7. RJ Dawson says:

    Thanks for these posts, Mike. They are very helpful. The Lord commanded us to spread the Gospel and make disciples. If our hearts are right regarding this then we are only doing what we should and must. If a local church is out seeking the lost of its community, it is not necessarily trying to grow in numbers, but simply obeying the Lord. Yet, proper growth will take place in time.

    On the other hand, most of us are familiar with inauthentic church and ministry growth attempts. Television ministry, for example, has generally achieved a reputation among many as being inauthentic, though some tv ministry is real and good. Regardless of ministry forms, including Christian blogs, inauthentic means are usually discerned.

    The other great thing with reference to gaining greater readership is the establishment of a spiritual community, though net based and obviously limited compared to sharing the same local geography. The Lord created an overall community in which we can all learn and grow from one another, and it takes many forms.

    • mtsweat says:

      Very true RJ! We learn from one another as community… sounds familiar, kind of like Real Christianity. Had to get an AD-plug in. Blessings friend.

  8. Jeff says:

    I’ve really appreciated these posts. I’ve learned a few things I never knew before (like that “slug” thing, for example). I have struggled with being a “lazy liker,” but don’t feel that I am. I comment quite a bit on other pages, but only I have something to say. I also don’t automatically “like” a post, even if it is one of my favorite blogs to read. If it doesn’t resonate with me, I won’t “like” it. Doesn’t mean I hate it; it just didn’t strike me that day. I also have made it a point to not post disagreeable comments. I don’t want to get into a “comment fight.” I choose my battles very carefully. But I do click on an awful lot of “gravatars” of people whose comments I find interesting. I have “followed” a good number of blogs from the comments and likes on other blogs. So your advice here is pretty good.

    • mtsweat says:

      Likewise Jeff, I am very appreciative of your words here. On the ‘lazy liker’ point, after reading what some had to say of this, the first and only person I considered was myself. What I am really appreciative of from your response, as a pretty long time blogger (you), was your acknowledgement that you click on ‘gravatars.’ I’m hoping some, as you did, give us some insight as to how effective the suggestions I’m reading really are. By the way, this is all info gathered from others, as my own personal site could hardly be considered flowing over with traffic. 🙂 As I try to implement some of these things though I thought it would be worthwhile to share them here.

      This was by far the toughest post yet, for no matter how hard I tried to not let it sound so, I kept feeling like I was encouraging a selfish attitude toward gaining readers. I hope it didn’t come across as much that as I fear it did.

      Thanks for a very helpful and insightful response.

  9. Judy says:

    Well, now I feel like a comment might be interpreted as a shamelss plug for my own blog:) But I will add one anyway, because I do have a thought or two on this subject As a blogger of about two years who has slowly and steadily increased traffic, I know that interacting with other bloggers is essential. I also do not have time to intelligently read and comment on every blog that I follow. I try to read what genuninely interests me and comment if I feel I have something to add to the conversation. In other words, I try to be authentic. Frankly, I struggle with the balance between strategically seeking to increase traffic in the interest of more influence and better conversations among those who read my blog and simply wanting a bigger number of followers so that I can feel more “successful.” And if many of my followers are other bloggerswho are just following me so that I follow them, etc, what’s the point of all of that? After all, I desire to point people to God, not me. (He’s much more interesting:) In the end, of course I want to increase traffic on my blog (and I sincerely invite anyone reading this to visit), but I hope that those who read and comment are genuinely interested. Thank you for initiating this discussion. I’ll follow it with interest. Judy

    • mtsweat says:

      Yes, a hardy amen to your words, Judy. As you concur with my words towards the end of the article, cold and mechanical comments aren’t what we’re talking of, but comments from a heart of like-interests. What I mean is, I’m not heading over to some site about “how to kick a soccer ball” because the author there is getting all kinds of traffic. Our site here is primarily focused on the faith of Christianity, and every blog I’m subscribed to are of like-minded authors. Therefore, I can visit your posts and know I’m going to find something of great interest and have my faith examined in the process. the challenge then is to invest in your words with some of my own. You are very right to caution writers not to get so consumed by traffic (especially those declaring the gospel) that we lose focus of what’s most important: Jesus. Thanks for the very interactive words that bring a much needed addition to the post… which IS exactly what the post is encouraging us to do.

      • Judy says:

        Thanks for your feedback. I hear your good intention in this post to challenge us to be more generous commenters as we engage in each other’s blogs. I really appreciate this discussion, for it has gotten me to think through how I interact. So thank you again. May your comments by winsome, and may your blog flourish!

  10. JessicaHof says:

    Very helpful Mike – thank you 🙂 x

  11. Marie says:

    Wow! Thanks for using me as an example! All I can say is wow!

  12. Sounds like some good ideas. 🙂

Comments are closed.